Beneath This Mask (Beneath #1), by Meghan March
Publish Date: September 29, 2014
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 STARS
(Synopsis) He loves me, and he doesn’t even know my real name.
The limelight that follows him could expose everything I’m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.
I’m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.
Will we lose it all when I reveal what’s beneath this mask?
I blew through Beneath This Mask in just a few days. To be fair, I spent 14 hours in my car traveling to and home from ALAMW16 in Boston, so it was plenty of time to start and finish this audiobook. When I originally purchased it, I chose it because I just got done reading Meghan March's Dirty Billionaire series, and really loved it. I was looking for more books by her and discovered that Beneath This Mask could be purchased for Kindle and audio for only $7 total. SOLD.
Charlie Stone was raised in a life of privilege. But, after her father went to jail and their family was ruined, she runs to escape the stigma and possible indictment herself. A year later, she's in New Orleans and has completely changed her appearance. She was supposed to go relatively unnoticed and fly under the radar - until she met Simon. He's the son of a former politician and considering running for office himself. He's always in the public eye, so he exactly what Charlie should avoid. Easier said than done.
In the wake of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scandal that came to light in late 2008 and which bilked thousands of hardworking Americans of billions of dollars, it was interesting seeing this sort of thing as the foundation for a book. We've all felt the pity for the victims of the scheme who lost their life savings, but I never thought to think about Madoff's family and how they fared.
Charlotte - or, Charlie as she has remade herself - is the only child of a man convicted of this type of crime. Although she's had a silver spoon in her mouth her whole life, she's a tough chick. She did a brilliant job of hiding - paying for things with cash, getting lots of tattoos, dying her hair. But, I really felt for her. She seemed so alone. She was never close to her family even when they were together. And, now she purposely keeps herself apart from others so she isn't found out. It's a lonely life, and that shows.
Simon is immediately drawn to her, and despite her seeming to want to be with him, he can't understand why she continually pulls away. I get it - Charlie threw off serious mixed signals. Honestly, for a short while there, the constant push and pull got tiresome. I wanted Charlie to make up her mind, and that didn't happen quite fast enough for me.
Despite some pacing issues in the middle and the instalove on Simon's part, I still really enjoyed this book. I liked the side characters - Con, especially. I can't wait to get his story.
While the middle felt a bit sluggish, the ending moved at lightning speed. So much was going on to our MCs, it made up a bit for the slower pacing earlier.
About the Audio Version
Beneath This Mask is told in dual POV, so for the audio version, there are two narrators - Andi Arndt and Holter Graham. Both of them were new to me, and I found I really enjoyed their performances. And Arndt particularly did a great job voicing both Charlie and Simon during her chapters. And, they both conveyed the heavy emotions that were felt at times during this book. I see that Holter Graham narrates a lot of Patricia Briggs books - me thinks I'm going to have to get one of those.